Born On The Fourth Of July?

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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In this weak job market, first the White House wants to hire veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some estimates being discussed widely in mainstream and social media project the need for about 1 million jobs for veterans of the 2 wars since September 2001, with veterans under the age of 30 exceeding 30% of all the veterans.

Returning military personnel, National Public Radio (NPR) reports, are suffering from Tinnitus, or ringing sound in the ears due to causes not yet known (or because the military does not want to disclose?), besides the commonly expected health maladies related to warfare such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addictions and other psychological and psychiatric disorders.

The military health care system is dysfunctional and underfunded since the closing of the Walter Reed Medical Center in the Base Re-alingment and Closings (BRAC) in 2011. Concern among the population and veterans is legitimate in the once again deteriorating economic situation.

It is a signature of American history for new immigrants to integrate fully socially after serving in wars to defend America or to advance American interests globally.

After nearly 250 years since the early rumblings of the War for Independence, it may be an academic argument a that only two wars were really necessary – the War for Independence and the War of 1812, though academic ruminations of the past can yield useful insights about how America must be governed into the future.

Pentagon strategy coming from a military bureaucracy which formed out of World Wars I and II, occupying about a quarter of the annual federal budget, is limited to winning wars once Congress authorizes them and to maintain the war machine prepped at all times to keep their jobs and to advance in them. Strategic thinking of the senior officers who are trained in the elite military academies is limited to this scope, unlike that of the civilian leaders they serve.

The president of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief of the US military and the supreme civilian executive, is facing a deteriorating social environment where economic uncertainty is causing anxieties which can potentially lead to the frailing of the social fabric in an angst over American identity and arguments about who is more deserving.

The number of foreign borns in America is on the rise once again and has been since the 1990s, about half-a-century after LBJ’s immigration reforms in the ’60s when the Europeans stopped coming upon WWII’s Marshall Plan reconstruction of the continent.

Unemployment among foreign-born Americans is higher and economic protectionism among the natural borns is pervasive except on Wall Street, leading to the scapegoating of immigrants for domestic economic problems, both within government and outside it, for belonging to the “wrong” race, ethnicity or faith.

In America, except during the rare and unusual times of draft, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan being such a situation, military service is neither a test of patriotism nor a requirement.

Many returning US service men and women are well trained, disciplined and have a good work ethic but for the prevalence of social maladjustment after 9/11. There can be no better examples of that mindset, especially after September 11, 2001, than Abu Ghraib, Fort Hood shootings of a mentally unstable Islamic service member, the continuing CIA killings of natural born Americans abroad in Yemen and Pakistan because of their political views founded in their faith, and the recent behavior of US military personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan, which has expedited the exit schedule of the US military after Obama declared an end to the decade-long war.

Veterans must be quickly absorbed into the economy, before others, rather than orphaned by the Pentagon, because they present a societal risk in an election year due to the continuing deeply partisan differences over the Iraq war and the conduct of the Afghan war. They must be prepared to take the jobs they can get instead of remaining obsessed about terrorists and Jesus, expecting entitlements from the society for doing their volunteer, tax-payer funded, paid jobs with full benefits which involve putting their lives on the line when needed.

In the private sector and in government, I would not hire veterans in management positions in the United States or anywhere else in the world. Managers and executives with military service records do not see non-veterans, who never served, as being sufficiently American.

Veterans, including in the officer corps, tend to discriminate on a narrow view of American patriotism and religion. They could, therefore, be hired at the per capita US income of $48,000 or about $4000 gross pay per month as specialists in the private sector with, of course, full access to a better-funded military health system.

Well-trained and retiring military personnel with an exaggerated sense of self can leave and start their own businesses in the private sector to create employment.

Our American problem is war and keeping up the war machine. In self-reflection, it is time for America to understand that the solution is not war but no-war.

In the English America since the Virginia colony, it is either Pocahontas and John Rolfe or mass evacuation of all except the American Indians, for they have been the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) since the Mayflower and must be re-integrated into the United States that we have known since 1789.

As a first order of business, I would, however, suggest to the president to absorb most of the veterans, all the estimated 1 million (or 4 months of minimum required job creation without losing any jobs to prevent another recession), in low-level civilian jobs with total annual compensation not exceeding $48,000, in the Pentagon and elsewhere in the government at the federal, state and local levels.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa
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